Steve Silberman is a contributing editor for Wired magazine, one of Time‘s selected science tweeters, and the author of the NeuroTribes blog at the Public Library of Science. He is currently working on a book about autism and neurodiversity for Avery/Penguin. (Read recent Longreads by Silberman here.)


After years of predictions from pundits that the migration of media to the Web and mobile devices would mean shorter and shallower stories aimed at a juvenilized readership incapable of sustained attention, I’m delighted to report that we’re in a renaissance of long-form writing. This has been made possible, in part, by insightful curators like Maria Popova (@brainpicker) and Mark Armstrong (@longreads), who point their readers to the best of the best, daily, on Twitter. Now what’s required are ways for freelancers and bloggers to earn the money they need to support this level of in-depth reporting and discursive exploration. Here are five pieces from 2011 that really stuck with me.


• Sy Montgomery, “Deep Intellect: Inside the Mind of an Octopus” (Orion Magazine

• Carl Zimmer, “The Human Lake” (his blog, The Loom)

• Julia Bascom, “Quiet Hands,” (her blog, Just Stimming)

• Alexis Madrigal, “A Guide to the Occupy Wall Street API, Or Why the Nerdiest Way to Think About OWS Is So Useful” (The Atlantic)

Michael Hall, “Falling Comet: The Last Days of Bill Haley” (Texas Monthly)


Share your own Top 5 Longreads of 2011, all through December. Just tag it #longreads on Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook.